In Stearns v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) addressed whether the six-year statute of repose for improvements to real property applies to long-tail tort claims, such as those caused by exposure to asbestos. Reasoning that the language of § 2B is clear, unambiguous and unequivocal, the SJC held that Mass. Gen. Laws. c. 260 § 2B does in fact bar all tort claims arising out of a deficiency or neglect in the design, planning, construction or general administration of an improvement to real property filed after the expiration of the six-year repose period. Additionally, the court affirmed that the time limitations imposed by the statute of repose may not be tolled for any reason six years after either the opening of the improvement for use or the owner taking possession of the improvement for occupation upon substantial completion, whichever may occur first.
Reprinted courtesy of Timothy J. Keough, White and Williams LLP and Rochelle Gumapac, White and Williams LLP
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